In a significant ramping up of its activities to protect Irish tourism ahead of Brexit, Fáilte Ireland will invest €5 million to support the sector.
The investment comes as new figures published by Fáilte Ireland today show the number one concern among tourism businesses is Brexit, particularly those in northern counties.
The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Industry Barometer shows 69% of tourism businesses cite Brexit as their top concern. This figure rises to 90% in the restaurant sector.
More than 3.4 million British tourists, on average, holiday in Ireland every year and spend up to €1.6 billion. This contributes more than €233 million annually to the Exchequer.
Fáilte Ireland is warning that the fallout from a hard Brexit could cost more than €380 million to the sector.
"Fáilte Ireland is working intensively with businesses to help them prepare for Brexit," said Chief Executive, Paul Kelly.
"Brexit remains a key concern for every facet of the tourism sector as our latest barometer survey shows. This is particularly true for the restaurant sector nationwide, as well as accommodation providers in northern counties, who report that their visitor numbers from the UK are down over the past year.
"The prospect of a hard Brexit, or a potential no-deal scenario, leaves us with significant uncertainty relating to the wider implications it could have on tourism, particularly on the performance of our nearest and biggest overseas market.
"As we await the final outcome of Brexit, and with the situation changing on a daily basis, it is still difficult to quantify the range and scope of impacts that Brexit will have. Our key message to tourism businesses is ‘prepare and diversify’.
Other concerns highlighted in the industry barometer include the implications of the increase in the VAT rate to 13.5%.
Read the full report in full here: